Protecting and Providing

Language Arts and Social Studies Activity

Students research societies and associations formed to help certain sectors of American society during the Industrial Revolution.



  1. Explain to students that in response to the displacements and fast-moving changes in society, some sectors of it were at a disadvantage. As a result, concerned citizens formed many private organizations to help individuals and bring about social change. They included ethnic and humane societies, community settlement houses, unions, and fraternal organizations. Some examples are Hull House, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Henry Street settlement house, and the NAACP.

  2. Have students pair up to choose one such group and make up informational booklets to attract new members. Each booklet should describe, in narrative and illustration, the group's beginnings and its accomplishments. Students might also use graphs and timelines to show change and growth.


Invite representatives of a local service organization (such as a humane society) to class to explain the value of community involvement. Encourage students to participate in a project with the organization, either individually or as a group. Then have students evaluate the economic, social, cultural, and civic value of doing community service. They might, for example, compare how it feels to be actively engaged in a service organization to sending an occasional donation.

Students can present biographical reports on the accomplishments of individuals who have changed history by their efforts on behalf of service organizations. Two examples are Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross, and Thurgood Marshall, attorney for the NAACP.

Ask students to brainstorm other areas where a volunteer organization might help their community. Have them draw up a charter for such a group, describing its mission and what it can hope to accomplish.

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